Google Drive, or Gdrive as it is better known, has to be the most anticipated Google product so far. When it arrives, Gdrive will likely cause a major paradigm shift in how we use computers and bring Google one step closer to dethroning Windows on your desktop.
The service has the potential to eclipse even Gmail, Google's second best-known product after their google.com search engine. That said, it's no wonder users have been ripe with anticipation for years - yes, that's how long the rumors have persisted. Gdrive is basically online storage where Google servers have enough capacity to hold the entire contents of your hard drive. It will likely also come with enough brains to do cool tricks now with bigger things down the road - like booting your computer from online drive to load the Google operating system.
Gdrive is basically a cloud-based storage that should have two faces: A desktop client that keeps local and online files and folders in two-directional sync via a web interface for accessing your desktop files anywhere and anytime, using any network-enabled computer. In addition, it will come tightly integrated with other Google services to enable editing of supported document types, like spreadsheets and presentations via Google Docs, email via Gmail, images via Picasa Web Albums, etc.
This opens powerful possibilities. For instance, you could start working on a spreadsheet at home and continue via Gdrive web interface accessed in an Internet cafe. When you arrive back home, changes to the spreadsheet have already trickled down from the cloud to your desktop. The idea, of course, is all but revolutionary, but Google's execution could set it apart.
SkyDrive, MobileMe, Back to my Mac
Microsoft's SkyDrive offers 25GB of online storage free of charge but is limited to 50MB per file. The software maker's more advanced beta service (dubbed Live Mesh) comes with a less spacious 5GB of online storage but with more intelligence: Its service keeps your files seamlessly synced across desktop, web and mobile worlds. The latter client also allows you to access files from your desktop using a Windows Mobile-powered cellphone.
Apple has promised similar desktop, mobile and web file syncing between Macs, PCs and iPhones via a MobileMe cloud service, but the feature was delayed due to ongoing MobileMe difficulties - even though Apple built it into its desktop. Called "Back to my Mac," this OS X Leopard feature pairs with MobileMe online storage to let you search, access and edit files stored on a remote Mac. Besides such offerings from industry heavy-weighs, there are similar free or low-priced online storage services from others that let you do more or less the same.RSS (What is RSS?) or subscribe via email at the top of this page...